16 July 2013

Media Bias, Satire, and The Daily Show

Earlier today, I tweeted a link to a short post written by Matt Slick about his experience on the Daily Show.  Matt Slick runs CARM, which is an apologetics resource ministry. He reportedly was asked to appear on the Daily Show to discuss whether there was an anti-Christian bias in the media when it came to the issue of homosexuality.  Matt shared what he said and how this was changed and manipulated by the Daily Show, in fact clipping together parts from two different sentences so that it appeared that he said something he did not.

Since the reportedly doctored clip aired, Slick received significant backlash from the news community. He states he has been called a bigot, homophobe, and a number of other things. What I find interesting is that The Daily Show is a satirical news program, but that people believe it is more trustworthy than mainstream news sources (I recall reading this somewhere in the last several years). On the one hand, considering its satrical nature, we should not be surprised that the Daily Show would change or misrepresent things for shock value. That's what satire does. What is more deeply concerning is that many Americans assume that what they are hearing from Jon Stewart is truth and find it more trustworthy than mainstream news.

I believe that media bias, misrepresentation, and tweaking is alive and well.  For that reason, I think most of us would do well to slow down and consider the source before jumping to conclusions.

If you are interested in media bias, I would recommend the excellent blog, Get Religion.

Postscript: today I came across this quote from Francis Schaeffer: "I have also been on the other end of this manipulation by editing when I have been on TV talk shows trying to make a point.  Somebody at the controls knows that you are going to say something he does not like, and so he switches the camera and the mike and you’re dead.  You sound like a fool no matter how right your answer is going to be.  The television viewer says to himself, “Schaeffer is a fool” — and he may be, but this does not prove it.  A simple fact: people think they are seeing reality when they sit in front of that crazy box, but they are being manipulated in subtle but strenuous ways."

No comments: